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College tobacco policy focuses on education, being neighborly

Smoking is already restricted to designated areas
By Edward Stratton

The Daily Astorian

Published on November 15, 2017 8:51AM

Last changed on November 15, 2017 9:07AM

Clatsop Community College has struggled to craft a tobacco-free policy.

Clatsop Community College

Clatsop Community College has struggled to craft a tobacco-free policy.

The Clatsop Community College Board once again sent a tobacco-free policy back to the drawing board over concerns of truth in advertising and to add stronger language about prevention and education.

Board members voted to rename the proposed policy “tobacco-restrictive,” as it allows smoking in good-neighbor zones designated by campuses. Tobacco use on campus is already restricted to designated areas.

The new policy encourages individuals to promote compliance and tobacco cessation. “College employees are expected to support individuals becoming tobacco free and to promote compliance in their areas of responsibility and on the college’s campuses,” according to the policy.

College President Christopher Breitmeyer said cessation education efforts are almost nonexistent. He recommended adopting the policy “with the knowledge that we will be developing some very active interventions for folks who do smoke, and also for those students who have the very real issue of that addiction.”

“It doesn’t really have legs,” said board member Esther Moberg, requesting more language be added about prevention and education. Breitmeyer agreed to work on the language and bring the policy back to the college board in December.

Board member Tessa Scheller was the lone “no” vote on the name change and continued her criticism of the policy for not banning smoking on campus outright.

“All peoples are welcome here,” she said. “Bad habits are not. Things that can lead to the injury of other people, they just can’t be tolerated, in my opinion.”

In June, the college board voted unanimously to send a proposed tobacco-free policy back to the drawing board because of loopholes allowing people to smoke in cars and on the fringes of campus.

The college can prohibit smoking in cars on its property, Breitmeyer said Tuesday, and is planning the good-neighbor zones in the upper parking lot of the main campus and along Liberty Lane at the Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station.

A council of college representatives has been helping Breitmeyer craft the policy. The council members brought the policy back to the college board over concerns not with a tobacco-free campus, but with the implementation, he said. Several staffers provided arguments on behalf of the zones.

Angela Martin, a grant accounting specialist with the college, said it has modeled its policy after Portland Community College, one of the first community colleges in the state to make campuses tobacco-free, along with good-neighbor zones.

“While we know that smoking is bad, we also know your policy will not curb all smoking, all smokers from smoking,” Martin said.

Rinda Johansen, a program assistant with Lives in Transition, said the college does not have the staff to enforce a smoke-free campus without the zones.

Technical Services Specialist Mariah Manners said she doesn’t want to tell students to leave campus or have them smoking on surrounding sidewalks, trails and in the woods.

Anatomy and Physiology instructor Nichole Warwick said she worked in Towler Hall during a short-lived previous campuswide ban and had to walk past smokers on the sidewalk with her asthma inhaler. She and others remembered the time someone dumped discarded cigarette butts on a previous vice president’s desk.

“My idea would be to have a safe area for students to smoke, if they’re in crisis,” Warwick said.


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